Durran’s Digest: Beating the Blades

It’s not only the Swans signing up young talent this summer – ATFV has done it too, recruiting teenage writer David Durran. As a regular guest contributor David will provide a youthful, fresh perspective on all things Swansea City via his “Durran’ Digest” column. In this first submission David gives us his take on the thrilling victory over Sheffield United.

Graham Potter’s Swansea City reign got off to the perfect start as Yan Dhanda’s first senior goal in English football secured a hard fought victory over the resolute Sheffield United.

With all the negativity from last season in the past, a positive start to the Championship was vital, yet it took a lot more than expected to get past Chris Wilder’s side at Bramall Lane. Having to come from behind, the youthful squad showed character beyond their years to turn the tables and leave the Swans fans celebrating on the opening weekend of the Championship camapign.

Potter’s philosophy was clear from the outset; his team was clearly trying to play good attacking football but the execution, as expected, wasn’t as good as it could have been.

The first half was quite even with both teams enjoying good spells of possession. If anything was going to happen for the Swans it would have come through debutants Bersant Celina and Barrie McKay who both showed flashes of quality.

The Blades had their spells as well but the first real threat came from Potter’s side on the stroke of half time, although Asoro was adjudged to have handled before forcing a save after connecting with a cross.

Going into the break Potter would have probably been the happier of the two managers, although there was still plenty of room for improvement over the second 45 minutes.

Immediately after the restart the Swans posed more of a threat. McKay was twice set free down the wing  yet Asoro could not convert when the Scot pulled the ball back for him.

The tempo was a lot better now and at times the way the boys moved the ball was quite exquisite. Yet, with all the confidence in the final third gaps were starting to be left at the back and Sheffield United had two fantastic opportunities that were fortunately spurned. Our defence was suddenly looking very vulnerable and on the hour mark we got what we deserved.

A well worked move down the left flank completely opened us up, leaving George Baldock free to slot in from a cutback.

This immediately triggered the introduction of Jefferson Montero who entered the field of play in place of Joel Asoro.

The Swans pushed for an equaliser and so nearly found it in the 68th minute when Jay Fulton’s glancing header was brilliantly tipped over by Dean Henderson. However, they weren’t to be denied three minutes later when a gorgeous passing move culminated in Henderson saving from McKay only for the rebound to be lashed in by Oli McBurnie. The young Scot showed his natural goal-scoring instinct, popping up in the right place at the right time to get his team back on level terms.

The momentum was with us now and a winner was certainly on the cards.

Since coming on Montero had provided a spark to the team that was evidently missing during the first 45 minutes. It was his endeavour that set up McBurnie who nearly found the net again with a superbly guided header. The Swans got even closer when McKay’s fantastic volley crashed against the bar. It seemed that despite all the pressure a second goal just wasn’t going to come.

However, the team’s persistence was rewarded five minutes from time. Once again Montero was at the centre of things, bamboozling the full back before crossing to McKay. The Scot was brought down and would have got a penalty for his troubles but sub Yan Dhanda was on hand to smash in with his first touch, sparking delirious celebrations. This was the youngster’s first senior goal, and what a time to get it!

Nordfeldt still had to be alert to save Connor Roberts’ skewed clearance but the Swans held on to get their push for promotion off to the ideal start.

Clearly the result is fantastic, but the character the squad showed is outstanding. For such a young squad to come back away from home and win the game is quite remarkable. With all the new signings impressing as well, you’d be forgiven for having high hopes.

And this is just the beginning…

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